Through hosting inclusive cultural, social, and professional networking events for its members and the entire LSU Law community, the Black Law Students Association works to support current and future Black law students at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center.
“BLSA’s main mission is to create a community for Black law students to have a safe space in and to support members on their journey to a J.D. in every way, shape, and form,” said 2L and BLSA President Mekkah Husamadeen.
To celebrate Black History Month in February, BLSA hosted several events aimed at bringing “a little bit of each member’s culture” to the LSU Law community, Husamadeen said. The lineup included a yoga wellness event, a Mardi Gras celebration that included traditional foods and a performance by the Red Flame Hunters Tribe of the Mardi Gras Indians, a movie night, and a community service project to provide hygiene products for the Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless.
“We wanted our events to be positive, engaging, and fun, but we also wanted to honor and uphold the values of Black History Month,” Husamadeen said.
BLSA also works to forge new friendships and foster greater connections with its fellow student organizations at LSU Law and the broader community. In the fall semester, BLSA helped organize and host a cultural potluck night at the Law Center in conjunction with the Society for Asian Lawyers and Hispanic Law Students Association, a karaoke night with students from the Southern University Law Center, an “Are You Smarter Than a Law Student?” event with LSU undergraduate students, and a civic engagement panel discussion with Black legal professionals.
As part of the Southwest Black Law Student Association—a regional affiliate of the National Black Law Student Association—the LSU Law BLSA members also participate in regional and national events that connect them with legal professionals and BLSA chapter members across the country. Over five days in late January, LSU Law and the Southern University Law Center served as co-hosts of the 7th Annual Southwest Black Law Students Association Regional Convention, which brought more than 160 SWBLSA members to Baton Rouge for moot court and mock trial competitions, pre-law programming, panel discussions, a job fair, and more.
“LSU Law sponsored 17 of us to attend the SWBLSA Regional Convention this year, and we are beyond grateful for their support,” Husamadeen.
The SWBLSA Regional Convention is just one example of the kind of impactful networking opportunities that help BLSA members build a professional network of legal professionals locally, statewide, and nationwide.
“BLSA is like a rocket ship—it takes you wherever you want to go,” she said. “I made so many great connections with people at our regional convention, and I know that the networking we’ve been able to do through this organization will create countless opportunities for us.”
Since its formation in the late 1970s, when few Black students attended LSU Law, BLSA has played a key role in helping LSU Law increase enrollment of Black students and cultivate a more inclusive and equitable environment at the Law Center, Husamadeen said. Today, roughly 25% of LSU Law’s student body is comprised of students of color. Professors Ray Diamond, Darlene Goring, and John Devlin serve as BLSA faculty advisors.
“My hope is that the number of Black students at LSU Law and BLSA membership continues to grow in the years ahead,” Husamadeen said, noting BLSA events and activities are not exclusive to Black students and that everyone is invited to participate. “I want our organization to positively impact the entire LSU Law community, I want to help pave the path for people who look like me to come behind me and thrive here.”